Are All Those School Supplies Really Necessary?

"We have their pencils, we have their erasers, we will have their school box, we have their scissors, their glue," said Pamela Stanaland of The Tardy Bell.

From binders and construction paper to markers and notebooks, The Tardy Bell in Lufkin has everything on parents' list of school supplies. The store also has plenty of items not on the list.

Stocking up on back-to-school necessities can get expensive, but there are ways to make sure you are buying wisely.

"I would say [parents spend] about $35 to $40 for [supplies] and a lot of times what we saw is that [teachers] try to include things that would last the children all year; that maybe the parents didn't have to go out and buy halfway through the year."

Lufkin Middle School Principal Vickie Evans has seen the school supply list change for the better during her 30-year career in education. Parents are no longer required to buy unnecessary things.

"I would hope there would not be a lot of things that we require parents to buy that are not used," Evans said. "I know at the middle school, each team and each group of teachers has a separate supply list, so that actually what the child needs matches what will be used in that classroom."

And for students who can't afford to buy what they need for school, many East Texas church and civic organizations have dropped off extra supplies to area schools. Those items are kept inside the classroom so every child will have an equal opportunity to do well in school.

Parents usually get their list of school supplies well before the new school year begins. If you have any questions about what your child may or may not need, call your child's school.